204. Telegram From the Consulate in Elisabethville to the Department of State1

1139. In accordance with Deptel 515,2 have called on Munongo, Kimba, and Muhona,3 as well as Tshombe. Found all of them pensive but not violent over Linner demarche to Tshombe (Contel 1124).4 To a man, they asked however that UN “not push us too fast,” particularly militarily. Kimba and Munongo as might be expected from such [garble—hard liners?], spoke again in terms of choosing scorched earth policy if UN “drives us to wall.” Even moderate Muhona said Katangans would rather perish than yield hastily to unreasonable demands.

None of Ministers interviewed spoke of independent status for Katanga. Nor have they to my knowledge for months. They uniformly [Page 387] spoke of continued willingness work out modus vivendi as confederal as practicable, with Adoula “and without outside influence.” Planted with each idea of early AdoulaTshombe meeting to launch talks between technical delegates on economic, financial and other aspects of integration.

Re point (A) of Deptel 515, Consulate’s relationship with key Ministers is, we believe, as good as can be expected. Emotional Ministers like Kimba and Munongo verge on insults when they repeat their false accusations re US Government racial and other policies. They may be irretrievable but perhaps USIS literature which they received today plus steady conditioning otherwise (visit to US at appropriate time would be ideal) may bring them closer to relatively realistic attitude maintained by Tshombe. In meantime they remain hard-headed advisers to Tshombe, who, in our view, is moderate capable being influenced by good advice to follow Kitona outline toward reintegrated Congo. If he fooling us since Kitona, such insincerity should have been apparent by now. Believe solid progress toward Kitona goals inevitably slow, particularly with background of suspicion which constantly in GOK thinking. In any event, Mixed Commission and Adoula-Tshombe meeting seem logical next steps, which must be given adequate chance to show results.

Nyembo another influential Minister who has spent most of last month in Léopoldville on government commission. No information available re his current attitudes, but he normally moderate influence in Cabinet.

Kibwe still powerful figure because of his hold on purse strings. He personally unattractive, as Ambassador will probably attest, and has reputation for having hands steadily in till. He generally regarded incapable [capable?] of being influenced by virtually any regime, including UN, and therefore does not enjoy local respect.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/2–962. Confidential. Repeated to Brussels, Léopoldville, London, Paris, Salisbury, and USUN.
  2. Telegram 515, January 23, requested reports on the attitudes and activities of Tshombe and his entourage, including an appraisal of the Consulate’s relationship with them. (Ibid., 770G.00/1-2362)
  3. Katangan Minister for Labor and Social Matters Paul Muhona.
  4. Telegram 1124, February 7, reported that, according to U.N. representative Jose Rolz-Bennett, Linner had called on Tshombe that morning and indicated that U.N. headquarters wanted faster implementation of the U.N. resolutions and the U.N. Command was considering placing military contingents in Jadotville and Kolwezi for this purpose. Tshombe had agreed to the establishment of a mixed U.N.-Katangan commission to supervise withdrawal of mercenaries. (Department of State, Central Files, 770G.00/2–762) A February 10 letter from Linner to Tshombe concerning the meeting (U.N. doc. S/5053/Add.7) is printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pp. 834–836.